October 29, 2012

Eva Janikovszky and László Réber: If I Were a Grown-up

I collect vintage children's books from the 1950s to 1970s - I'm sure some of you have noticed it ;) Ready for some more?

(Eva Janikovszky/László Réber: Große dürfen alles, Neithard Anrich Verlag 1965/1973)

Eva Janikovszky's first book was published in 1957. The Hungarian author wrote novels for both children and adults, but she is primarily known for her children's books, which were translated into 35 languages. Her most beautiful and humorous books were illustrated by Hungarian illustrator and cartoonist László Réber
In 1973 they won the "Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis" for their picture book "Große dürfen alles" (If I Were a Grown-up). I found an old copy last week via amazon for very small money. It's about how unfair it is to be told as a child what to do all the time, to wash the hands, clean up the toys, go to bed etc. while grown-ups can do anything they want. Text and pictures fit perfectly together and it made me smile so much, because I do say some of those sentences to my kids all day: "Wash your hands!", "Put on your sweater" etc. and I can understand so well when my 5-year-old says: "Ohhh, always the same" and I'm sure, he plans to do everything just like the little boy in the book as a grown-up: "Before lunch I eat a large bar of chocolate" and "I always wear short-sleeved shirts!"

Look at the details. Lászlo Réber's drawings are as simple as perfectly characterising. And the result is so charming!

When I was at the Book Fair I found some of their books at the stand of leiv Leipziger Kinderbuchverlag. The Leipzig-based publishing house is specialized in republishing classic children's books from Eastern Europe, among them "Weißt du es auch?" (Did You Know, Too?) and "Ich gehe schon in den Kindergarten" (I already go to kindergarten) by Janikovszky/Réber for instance and many more. On their backlist as well: Zdenek Miler's "Der kleine Maulwurf" (Krtek, The Mole) and Tove Jansson's "Mumins" (Moomins).

In French the books by Janikovszky/Réber are published by Swiss publishing house La Joie de Lire.

October 23, 2012

John Alcorn: Books!

I was very delighted to find a review copy of this one in our letterbox today:

It's the Italian edition of "Books!", written by Murray McCain and illustrated by great graphic designer and illustrator John Alcorn. Topipittori just republished this book, which was originally published in 1962 in the U.S. Valentina from the Italian publisher told me, that they have heard about this title from a friend, Marta Sironi, at the University of Milan. The university recently acquired all the drawings and materials from Alcorn's heirs. When Marta showed them the title, they immediately fell in love with "Books!" and decided to republish it. What a good decision!

"A classic by a great American graphic designer and illustrator, who revolutionized the image and style of Italian publishing in the 1970s: John Alcorn. A small book aimed at children: a hymn of love for books and reading, words, literature: the intelligence that espresses the best of what man is and can do since ten thousand years ago. A gem of irresistible beauty - for its design, illustrations and spirit - that challenges the pervasive dominance of the new technologies and reaffirms the charm without equal of the books."

As the title implies: "Books!" is about books. By playing with letters and punctuation characters in a very smart and funny way it explains: "WHAT is a book?" Really love this definition: "A book is full of surprises, feelings and learning and what growing up is like and loving and all the really big things there are." With its striking fonts and bright illustrations it's really fun! And it works for children (who start reading) as well as for grown-ups. 

In the late 1950s John Alcorn worked at the famous Push Pin Studios in New York City. Much more about him on this site.

"Books!" will be on sale also in French, Korean and Spanish. Hopefully it will be republished in English as well soon. Buy a copy in Italian here. More books by Topipittori this way!

October 17, 2012

Marimekko: In Patterns

Can't wait to show you this one. It's from Frankfurt as well. My friend S directed me to the Marimekko store. And there - I knew it before -  I just couldn't resist: It's so beautiful. 244 pages full of colour and patterns! Just to name a few of the Marimekko designers, you'll find inside: Maija Louekari, Aino-Maija Metsola, Kristina Isola (Do you see the pattern with the green and black trees below? It's by her and called "Forest Folk"), Annika Rimala, Jenni Tuominen.

This is what Marimekko writes about:
"In Patterns: Marimekko, published by WSOY, explores the colourful history and present of the design house in a new way, showcasing Marimekko’s design gems and their creators from the early trendsetters to the masters of today. The book’s rich imagery illustrates the decades of Marimekko’s patterns and how a sketch turns into a printed fabric. Additionally, the book takes a closer look at the ideas of the designers through introductions of Marimekko’s “mothers” and interviews with the younger generation. The editors of the book are Maria Härkäpää, Sami Sykkö, Annukka Arjavirta and Minna Kemell-Kutvonen."

You can pick up a copy (in English or Finnish) at Marimekko stores and selected distributors for Marimekko and WSOY. It isn't available neither via the Marimekko or WSOY website nor via amazon (at the moment). Here you'll find your nearest Marimekko store. And over there you can browse their current magazine for some autumn news.

(In Patterns: Marimekko, WSOY 2012, €39.00)

Pssst: I think about carefully cutting out some pages to frame them - it's a real conflict, can't "destroy" this wonderful book, do I have to buy a second one?!!

October 15, 2012

Frankfurt Book Fair

Hello dear friends and hello new readers! I had some very nice days in Frankfurt (book-fair.com) and as I carried my suitcase full of books and catalogues back home, I almost break down ;) The effort was worth it, of course. I met many interesting people, found some very fine books at the smaller stands, but enjoyed the wide range of major publishers as well (if you've never been there, it's HUGE, 7500 exhibitors from over 110 countries). So I have lots of novelties to share. But I need some time ... so for now enjoy some snapshots!

October 10, 2012

Milimbo: Cinderella

It's a busy time right now for all who work with books. The Frankfurt Book Fair started on Tuesday and there are tons of new books waiting for readers.

Before I leave to Frankfurt tomorrow to join the crowd and discover some fine new books I wanted to quickly show you Milimbo's latest book project. The book is titled "Cinderella" and the illustrations come from Claudia Polizzi and Michele Galluzzo. The well-known fairy tale is told just with pictures and it works very well without words. Please check out their other wordless books, first of all Grimm Brothers' "Red Riding Hood" (Y recuerda ...), which is showcased in "Little Big Books" by Gestalten, and "Hänsel & Gretel", both illustrated by editor and illustrator Juanjo G. Oller.

Milimbo is a small independent publisher and graphic atelier based in Valencia, Spain. Take a look at their etsy shop, website and blog!

(Claudia Polizzi/Michele Galluzzo: Cinderella (Grimm Brothers), Milimbo 2012)
(All images: www.milimbo.com)

 They are also good in cardboard projects as you might know. 

I'm back here after the Book Fair with loads of catalogues ...

October 08, 2012

Büchergilde: Petit Four by Katja Spitzer

Classic literature illustrated by talented artists and a charming packaging - those books are truly perfect as presents. The second collection of Petits Fours by Büchergilde comes out these days with another four small "delicacies": Joachim Ringelnatz/Katja Spitzer: Reklame, Oskar Hammerstein/Tom Burns: You'll never walk alone, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe/Ulrike Steinke: Der Zauberlehrling, Kurt Tucholsky/Drushba Pankow: Der Mensch.

With 9,5 x 12 cm (like a mobile phone) they are really "petit". Although they are so small each one has a matching slipcase:
"Reklame" is a poem by German author Joachim Ringelnatz about the omnipresence of advertising. The striking illustrations come from Katja Spitzer, a freelance illustrator living and working in Berlin. She shows all spreads on her website. Please visit Katja's blog to find out more about her current and last projects (do you know "Quodlibet"?)

The collection of four books is available for members soon at the publisher's website, as a single book you can buy each of them already here. The first collection came out in March including work by Franziska Neubert and Golden Cosmos.

October 03, 2012

Gestalten: Little Big Books - Illustrations for Children's Picture Books

I am very happy to get a review copy of this one finally to show you here at fine fine books. It's such a treasure trove for book illustrations and my expectations have all been fulfilled. "Little Big Books" published by Gestalten includes features about the finest illustrators of children's picture books, among them Frank Viva, Camilla Engman, Louis Rigaud, Chiara Armellini, Juanjo G. OllerMarjolaine LerayLena Sjöberg, Joelle Jolivet, Atak, Bernardo Carvalho (I only miss a few like Emma Adbage, Madalena Matoso, Katrin StanglValerio Vidali). It all starts with a brief history of children's picture books introducing key artists like Tove Jansson, Maurice Sendak, Bruno Munari, Leo Lionni, Dick Bruna, Lisl Stich. Alongside the spreads with illustrator portraits the book contains interviews with experts like Martin Salisbury about publishing rights and licensing, educational aspects and psychology of picture books and their future.

It has rarely been so hard for me to single out the "best" pages and my copy is full of post-it-notes as you can see. Well, here are my personal favourites:

Bernardo Carvalho

Each illustrator can be located in the index in the back of the book, there you'll find the page numbers where they've been featured and their website. 
Elisa Géhin 
Laurent Moreau
The book is edited by Robert Klanten and Hendrik Hellige and published by Gestalten in July/August 2012. This is what the publisher writes about it:
"Featuring the work of the best up-and-coming illustrators and creators of picture books for children, Little Big Books is a captivating showcase of what is state-of-the-art in today’s children’s books. 
Despite, or because of, the ubiquity of televisions and computers, picture books have remained popular with kids and parents. These books have also not lost their appeal for illustrators and publishing houses—not least because a hit children’s book can serve as the lucrative basis for TV programs, video games, toys, or other merchandising. In addition to its presentation of cutting-edge visuals from around the world, Little Big Books offers insightful texts for those who hope to create or market visual content for children. These include interviews with experts about the educational aspects, make-up, and psychology of children’s picture books as well as the significance of children’s book awards and practical advice on publishing rights and licensing. The publication is rounded out with an introduction that puts current work into the historical context of classic books by the genre’s seminal pioneers."

Chiara Armellini
If you want to see more and I guess most of you do, you can pick up a copy right here or here or everywhere where fine books are sold.

Cecilia Afonso Esteves
(Little Big Books: Illustrations for Children's Picture Books, 24 x 30 cm, 240 pages, €39.90, Gestalten, ISBN 978-3-89955-446-5)